W-M brings home city’s lone state title

The past decade in big schools boys basketball produced a single championship team, but the lone title celebration was a big one, when Washington-Marion won the second state championship in school history, on home soil, beating Ellender 65-58 in the 2017 Class 4A state championship game.

The leader of that team, forward Christian Edwards, is the Most Valuable Player on the American Press All-Decade Team. The team honors the top area players from the 2010-11 through 2019-20 seasons.

Coach of the Year is Washington-Marion’s Albert Hartwell, who guided the Charging Indians to the state championship.

The high-flying Edwards averaged 15 points per game as a senior, including a 13 point, 11 rebound performance in the championship game. Edwards earned two Louisiana Sports Writers Association first-team all-state honors in his career and is currently a member of the University of Alabama track and field team.

Hartwell was twice named LSWA coach of the year, earning the honor in 2016, when W-M reached the championship game before losing to Bossier, and repeating the next year after winning the school’s first championship since 1987. The two championship games were the only finals appearances by an area big school (Classes 5A-3A) in the decade.

Another high-flyer, Mark Vital, is also on the first team. Vital earned a pair of All-Southwest Louisiana MVP awards and a first-team all-state honor in two years at W-M before transferring to two Texas schools for his final two years of high school. Vital, a forward for the Baylor Bears, earned a spot on the Big 12 Conference All-Defensive team this season.

The St. Louis tandem of P.J. Hardy and Kelvin Henry earned first-team honors for helping the Saints to consecutive semifinal appearances in 2015 and 2016. Hardy played collegiately at Louisiana-Lafayette while Henry played at McNeese State and LSU-Shreveport.

Rounding out the first team is Hayden Gunter of South Beauregard, a sharpshooter who averaged 22.2 points per game as a senior in 2016-17, earning second-team all-state honors.

On the second team are DeRidder forward Randy Gladney (2018 All-Southwest Louisiana MVP, ULL signee), Jennings shooting guard Draylan Perkins (three-time honorable mention all-state), W-M guard Javandon Staves (2012 All-Southwest Louisiana MVP, played at Eastern New Mexico Junior College) Westlake forward Jacory Washington (two first-team All-Southwest Louisiana selections, played football at LSU) and LaGrange center Darrell Washington (two first-team All-Southwest Louisiana selections and two all-state honorable mentions).First in a series of high school all-decade teams. See Monday’s edition for the girls big schools team.FILE: WM’s Christian Edwards goes up for the slam dunk during the 2nd quarter of a game against Lagrange High School.

Rick Hickman

Local News

Only a fraction of funding reimbursed to Cameron by FEMA

Local News

15 child deaths attributed to COVID in La.

Local News

School Board extends COVID-related sick leave policy

Local News

Kind Vibes Only: CPSO hosts one-mile anti-bullying walk

Local News

Sowela rolls out fifth annual Flying Tigers Car Show

Local News

Parents urge Jeff Davis School Board to oppose any vaccine mandate

Local News

City hiring two agencies to help with disaster recovery financial advocacy

Crime

Man arrested in Monday shooting near McNeese campus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:State’s election system secure

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local Business News

Few things please Chloun more than delighting diners with authentic Middle Eastern cuisine

Local News

Nicholas expected to weaken to a depression overnight

Local News

Nicholas weakening as it moves toward SW La.

Local News

Update: Today’s weather-related closures and cancellations

Local News

Nicholas expected to stall over SW La. Wednesday

Local News

Nicholas upgraded to category 1 hurricane

Local News

Weather-related Tuesday closures, cancellations